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Ex-FHS star Clabo had Falcons eye view of Vick

Tyson Clabo has had a Falcons’ eye view of Michael Vick’s dog fighting controversy as its swirled in Atlanta.

“When we were out there working, and we were in here meeting, it was just business as usual,” the 6-foot-7, 315-pound former Farragut Admiral and Wake Forest University offensive lineman standout said about his NFL team’s atmosphere after Vick, Atlanta Falcons quarterback, first faced the prospect of dog-fighting related charges.

Vick has since pleaded guilty to certain dog-fighting charges and is indefinitely suspended from the NFL.

“Outside, of course, you had all these protesters and stuff,” the ex-Admiral said.

Clabo, a back-up guard who started 10 games for Atlanta last year after a starter got injured, said Vick had “always been cordial with me, saying ‘hi’ to me when passing in the hall, stuff like that. I never went out and hung out with him or anything. He took all the [offensive] line out to eat a couple of times, stuff like that.

“He was a real nice guy, quiet, kept to himself. I didn’t have anything bad to say about him.”

Saying Vick was generally well liked before the dog fighting controversy became public, Clabo added, “I don’t know anybody who still has anything bad to say about him around here.

“Mike’s a good person who apparently made some mistakes.”

Personally for Clabo, “It hasn’t been a distraction at all,” he said.

“As friends and teammates, I haven’t heard anybody judge him or be critical of him,” Clabo added. “When I first heard about all this I immediately tried not to jump to any conclusions, no matter how hard everybody was being on him. You know how it is when somebody high profile gets in trouble, they’re automatically [judged as] guilty.

“As things unfolded, it turned out a lot of those things were true.”

Clabo’s initial reaction? “I won’t say I was stunned — people make mistakes every day,” he said. “A lot of things that happen that aren’t considered to be kosher with a lot of people.

“It wasn’t any of my business. It was just an unfortunate situation.”

New Falcons quarterback Joey Harrington, a high first-round draft pick earlier this decade who has yet to live up to NFL expectations, only led the Falcons to three points in a 24-3 loss at Minnesota last Sunday.

However, “We’ve got good chemistry around here,” Clabo said.

About his 10 starts in 2006, “All that experience, that’s huge,” Clabo said. “Last year in camp I had no experience.

“I come to work every day, and obviously I want to play, I want to be in, but that’s not the situation that I’m in,” he said. “That worked out well for me last year, and I’m confident that it will work out well for me again.”

Clabo, 25, in his fourth season in and around the NFL, is in the final year of a two-year contract with Atlanta.


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